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The previous post in this series can be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/introduction-to-biblical-counseling-week-three-worship/

 Introduction to Biblical Counseling, Week Four: The Heart

Biblical counseling entails “heart” work: “What would you say if you were asked to summarize what it meant to be a Christian? When pressed by the teachers of the Law, Jesus says that all true obedience grows out of a transformed heart.”[1] Numerous examples could be given to demonstrate this statement.

The language of “heart” work or change has become a cliché of sorts among Christians. Now it is right that we should think of change as taking place within the heart; yet what we mean by “heart work” at times falls short of the biblical concept.

I.       A General Description of the Heart

A.  It goes without saying that while the word “heart” can refer to the physical organ in one’s chest, the change which must take place within the “heart” does not mean surgery on arteries and tissue.

B.  General nature of the heart.

1.   The “heart is the locus and organ of thought and the faculty of understanding. . .  The intellectual exercise of the mind is not really detached from the emotional and the modern dichotomy is artificial.”[2]

2.   For “heart” signifies the total inner self, a person’s hidden core of being (1 Pt 3:4), with which one communes, which one “pours out” in prayer, words, and deeds (Gn 17:17; Ps 62:8; Mt 15:18, 19). It is the genuine self, distinguished from appearance, public position, and physical presence (1 Sm 16:7; 2 Cor 5:12; 1 Thes 2:17). And this “heart-self” has its own nature, character, disposition, “of man” or “of beast” (Dn 7:4 KJV; 4:16; cf. Mt 12:33–37).[3]

3.   “Moderns connect some of the heart’s emotional-intellectual-moral functions with the brain and glands, but its functions are not precisely equivalent for three reasons.

“First, moderns do not normally associate the brain/mind with both rational and non-rational activities, yet the ancients did not divorce them (Ps. 20:4).

“Second, the heart’s reasoning, as well as its feeling, depends on its moral condition. Jesus said that “from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts” (Mark 7:21). Because the human heart is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9) and folly is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov. 22:15), the Spirit of God must give humans a new heart (Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:26) through faith that purifies it (Acts 15:9; cf. Eph. 3:17).

“Third, moderns distinguish between the brain’s thoughts and a person’s actions, but the distinction between thought and action is inappropriate for heart. “The word is very near you,” says Moses to a regenerated Israel, “in your mouth and in your heart” (Deut. 30:14).”[4]

4.   The heart is the space of one’s emotional life:

a.   And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. Genesis 45:26 (ESV)

b.   And Hannah prayed and said,

             “My heart exults in the LORD;

                        my horn is exalted in the LORD.

             My mouth derides my enemies,

                  because I rejoice in your salvation. 1 Samuel 2:1


c.   When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 1 Samuel 28:5 (ESV)

d.   “Emotionally, the heart experiences intoxicated merriment (1 Sm 25:36), gladness (Is 30:29), joy (Jn 16:22), sorrow (Neh 2:2), anguish (Rom 9:2), bitterness (Prv 14:10), anxiety (1 Sm 4:13), despair (Eccl 2:20), love (2 Sm 14:1), trust (Ps 112:7), affection (2 Cor 7:3), lust (Mt 5:28), callousness (Mk 3:5), hatred (Lv 19:17), fear (Gn 42:28), jealousy (Jas 3:14), desire (Rom 10:1), discouragement (Nm 32:9), sympathy (Ex 23:9), anger (Dt 19:6 KJV), irresolution (2 Chr 13:7 KJV), and much besides.”[5]

5.   The heart is the locus of one’s intellectual and intentional activity.

a.   The heart has “motives” (1 Corinthians 4:5).

b.   It has intentions: “And his armor-bearer said to him, ‘Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul’” 1 Samuel 14:7 (ESV).

c.   It moves one to conduct: “21 And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22 So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord” Exodus 35:21–22 (ESV).

d.   Contrives evil: “ While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” Acts 5:4 (ESV)

e.   The heart thinks: “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’” Matthew 9:4 (ESV).

f.    Meditates:

            5       I consider the days of old, the years long ago.

6       I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;

     let me meditate in my heart.”

                 Then my spirit made a diligent search: Psalm 77:5–6 (ESV)


6.   The information and affections within the heart give rise to outward manifestation.

a.   We see this frequently in Proverbs:

[A worthless person] with perverted heart devises evil

Continually sowing discord ….Proverbs 6:14 (ESV).[6]


Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,

but those who plan peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20; (ESV)


A prudent man conceals knowledge,

but the heart of fools proclaims folly. Proverbs 12: 23 (ESV)


Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,

but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25 (ESV).


The lips of the wise spread knowledge;

not so the hearts of fools. Proverbs 15:7 (ESV)


A glad heart makes a cheerful face,

but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13 (ESV)


The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious

and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Proverbs 16:23 (ESV)


As in water face reflects face,

so the heart of man reflects the man. Proverbs 27:19 (ESV)


b.   Thus if the “heart” determines a matter, the entire self is said to be so determined, “Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways” (Proverbs 7:25a).

c.   The state of the heart can affect one’s physical state: “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (Proverbs 14:30). “A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

d.    SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Yet, care must always be taken when evaluating the content of the heart on the basis of conduct, because the heart is capable of overt deceit (6:10; 23:7; 26:23-24). Longman writes of 14:10, “[N]o one can really knows what is going on emotionally insider another person.”[7]  And, “the heart of the king is unsearchable” (25:3[8]; see also, 23:7). The problem with evaluation of the heart exists even with self-evaluation: “To trust in one’s own heart . . .is the epitome of folly”.[9]

7.    SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Being the locus of information and font of desire (which as Edwards notes leads to will) the heart has the ability to determine both conduct and emotion (7:25: 6:14; 14:30; 17:22; 23:19; 23:26).

8.    SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1It is a place of cognitive determination (2:2[10]) and the place of desire (6:25 & 7:25; 23:17).  It is the locus of information, whether good or evil (2:10[11]; 3:3[12]; 4:21; 7:30; 14:33; 22:15; 26:24; 26: 25). The son is commanded to store wisdom in the heart (7:3). The information in the heart is not solely cognitive or moral: it also holds the affections (14:10; 24:17).

9.   A wise heart is one that carefully determines its conduct:

a.   “A heart devises wicked plans” (Proverbs 6:18).

b.   “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28 (ESV)

c.  “The wise of heart is called discerning” (Proverbs 16:21).

10.  The foolish heart may be impulsive (“The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Proverbs 15:7 (ESV). In contrast, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28 (ESV) ) There does also seem to be some deliberate deception possible for such a heart (Proverbs 7:10, “And behold the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart”).

11.  SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1The heart exists in a recursive system: information flows outward from the heart into will and conduct; and, information flows inward from conduct and the environment: which information flow affects the state of the heart

a.   Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)

12  Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.


b.   Proverbs 15:30 (ESV)

30  The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,

and good news refreshes the bones.


c.   Proverbs 27:9 (ESV)

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,

and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.


d.   Proverbs 27:11 (ESV)

11  Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,

that I may answer him who reproaches me.


e.   Proverbs 31:11 (ESV)

11  The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

f.    The heart can be taught. Proverbs 2:2; 3:3, Deuteronomy 6:6.  The word of God stored in the heart transforms the life:

I have stored up your word in my heart,

that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 (ESV)[13]


II.      The Heart and God

A. The Heart is the Place of Moral Determination

1.   It can “think evil” (Matthew 9:4).

2.   It can be stubborn before God’s command (Jeremiah 18:12; 23:17).

3.   It can be haughty (Jeremiah 48:29).

4.   It can contain idols (Ezekiel 14:4 & 7).

5.   It can be faithfully set before the Lord (Psalm 112:7-8).

6.   It can be hardened. Exodus 4:21.

7.   It can be gentle and lowly. Matthew 11:29.

8.   It can be hard and impenitent. Romans 2:5.

9.   It can be blameless and holy. 1 Thessalonians 3:3.

10. It can be self-deceived. James 1:26.

11.  It can be deceitful. Jeremiah 17:9.[14]

12. The conscience can strike the heart. 1 Samuel 24:5. The men who heard Peter’s sermon were “cut to the heart”. Acts 2:37.

B.   The heart is the source of good. Luke 6:45; 8:15.

C.   The heart is also the source of evils:

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. Mark 7:14–22 (ESV)

D. The heart is the place of interaction with God.

1.   One believes “with the heart”. Romans 10:9.

2.   It is the record of evidence used for judgment:

15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. Romans 2:15–16 (ESV)

Francis Schaeffer illustrates it thus:

Let me use an illustration again that I have used in other places. If every little baby that was ever born anywhere in the world had a tape recorder hung about its neck, and if this tape recorder only recorded the moral judgments with which this child as he grew bound other men, the moral precepts might be much lower than the biblical law, but they would still be moral judgments. Eventually each person comes to that great moment when he stands before God as judge. Suppose, then, that God simply touched the tape recorder button and each man heard played out in his own words all those statements by which he had bound other men in moral judgment. He could hear it going on for years—thousands and thousands of moral judgments made against other men, not aesthetic judgments, but moral judgments. Then God would simply say to the man, though he had never heard the Bible, now where do you stand in the light of your own moral judgments. The Bible points out in the passage quoted above that every voice would be stilled. All men would have to acknowledge that they have deliberately done those things which they knew to be wrong. Nobody could deny it.[15]


3.  The heart does not exist in a hermetic naturalistic system. While the creature, in all manifestations, does interact with the heart, so does the Creator: The heart “lies open” before God (Proverbs 15:11).  God controls the heart, and thus controls behavior (Proverbs 16:1; 19:21; 21:1).  God responds to and judges the heart (Proverbs 17:3). As it reads in Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” The heart itself can foolishly “rage against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:3).

4.   One fundamental assumption of Scripture is that the human heart is constantly open to influences from above and from below. God would “lay hold of [human] hearts” (Ez 14:5), “incline hearts” to his truth and ways (Ps 119:36), “put into … hearts to carry out his purposes,” both for judgment and for salvation (Rv 17:17). The alternative to divine “possession” is the demonic influence that can drag the heart down to utmost evil (Jn 13:2; Acts 5:3). The same heart that can be “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9) can also become the shrine of divine love and the Spirit (Rom 5:5).[16]

5.   “In more than three hundred cases where the word refers to the human heart it has a spiritual significance and refers to a person’s relationship with God. This does not mean that in its religious sense the heart has no relationship to a person’s thoughts, intentions, and feelings, but rather that these are motivated and driven by the heart, which is the religious point of departure for all of human life. The religious use of heart in the Old Testament, however, expresses not only directedness toward God, but often also appears in the context of turning away from him (e.g., Deut. 8:14, 17; 9:4; 2 Chr. 26:16, KJV; Isa. 9:9; 10:12, KJV; 47:8; Ezek. 31:10; Hos. 13:6; Obad. 3). As the source of virtually every manifestation of human religion and as that point in the person to which the revelation of God is ultimately directed, the human heart forms the focal point of God’s dealings with the person.

“This Old Testament meaning of heart is continued in the New Testament, particularly the Gospels (Matt. 6:21; 15:18–19; 22:37; Luke 6:45; John 14:1, 27) and the letters of Paul. As in the Old Testament, the New Testament word for heart (Gk. kardía) can indicate a person’s mind, will, and feelings, but Paul’s use of the term in reference to the spiritual or religious quality of human life expresses the idea that all of these facets of personhood are spiritually determined (cf. 2 Cor. 3:14ff., KJV; RSV “mind”; Phil. 4:7). Paul explicitly declares the connection between the heart and God, saying that God’s revelation bears witness to or within the human heart as the true center of human existence (cf. Rom. 2:14ff.). Just as the heart or core of a person’s being is the recipient of divine revelation, so it is the subject of the response, positive or negative, one makes to God. With the heart one believes (Rom. 10:10), desires (1:24), obeys (6:17), and performs the will of God (Eph. 6:6). The redeemed heart is the dwelling place of Christ (3:17) and of his peace (Col. 3:15) and love (Rom. 5:5).

“The use of the word heart in all of these contexts suggests that on the deepest level human beings are guided and determined from one central point which represents their true humanity, the heart. This is true both of their response to the revelation of God and of their responsibility for their own thinking, willing, and acting.”[17]

E.   The heart is the place of temptation:

Whilst it knocks at the door we are at liberty; but when any temptation comes in and parleys with the heart, reasons with the mind, entices and allures the affections, be it a long or a short time, do it thus insensibly and imperceptibly, or do the soul take notice of it, we “enter into temptation.”[18]

III.    Some Counseling Observations

A. The heart, in some manner, may be known.

1.   As shown above, the heart does exhibit itself in overt behavior and affections.

2.   The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5 (ESV)

3.    SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Yet, care must always be taken when evaluating the content of the heart from objective conduct, because the heart is capable of overt deceit (6:10[19]; 23:7; 26:23-24).  Longman writes of 14:10, “[N]o one can really know what is going on emotionally insider another person.”[20]  And, “the heart of the king is unsearchable” (25:3; see also, 23:7).  The problem with evaluation of the heart exists even with self-evaluation: “To trust in one’s own heart . . .is the epitome of folly”.[21]

4.   When we are presented with sin in others, we are liable to distortion ourselves:

(1.)   For we have the ground of the matter in ourselves.—“Hearts deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know thy wickedness? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins,” &c. (Jer. 17:9, 10.) As if none beside the Lord knew the bottomless depths and deceits of the heart! In the heart are those lusts and affections, that feed and foment all the hypocrisy in the world,—pride, vain-glory, concupiscence, carnal wisdom: were it not for these, there would not be an hypocrite living.[22]

5.   Jeremiah 17:9-10 explains that the evil of the heart makes it truly unknowable to any but God:

These two verses, though expressing different ideas, belong together. Taken together they form the center of the entire unit from v 1 through v 13. The contrast these two verses speak are the very contrast of the entire unit: deceitful, sinful humanity in contrast to a holy and just God. Verse 9 is probably a proverbial saying or riddle that looks back to the previous unit, to v 5, the one cursed who turns his heart from Yahweh. It also looks further back to v 1, where Judah’s sin is inscribed on her heart. Indeed, the heart is deceitful and incurably sick. (On the sick heart, cf. Jer. 8:18, where the reference is to heartsickness from grief over Judah’s sin.) Because it is so deceitful, the poet wonders who may know it? From human perspective it may seem that no one can know the inscrutable heart of a person who is deliberately deceitful. Yet the answer is swift in coming. Yahweh knows! Yahweh is the one who searches the heart and tests the inward parts of humankind (cf. ובחנתלבי, Jer. 12:3). He knows the heart and gives to each according to the fruit of his/her deeds. This reference to fruit again links this passage with the preceding one (v 8). Another link with the first section of this unit may be seen in the repetition of the word “give.” Yahweh who had given the inheritance to his people (v 4) will now give to each according to his way, according to the fruit of his/her deeds (v 10). A link is also provided within this passage for the confession in vv 14–18. Although the heart is incurable (v 9), a source of healing is available, Yahweh himself (v 14). In one sense, the hope of healing in v 14 answers the incurable nature of the heart’s sickness precisely as Yahweh’s searching of the heart (v 10) answers the question of its unknowable qualities (v 9).[23]

B.   The content of the heart is determined by the relationship one has at the level of his heart toward God.

1.   By nature the heart is subject to corruption. Note that continuity of the corruption of the human heart before and after the flood: Genesis 6:5 & 8:21.

2.   The corruption is so great that only a new heart can transform the human being (Jeremiah 13:23). This is the great blessing promised in the New Covenant.

17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 11:17–21 (ESV)

3.   God must write the law upon the heart of those redeemed under the New Covenant.

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31–34 (ESV)

4.      God pours out his love into our hearts:

5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 (ESV)

5.      Christ will dwell in our hearts:

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14–19 (ESV)

6.      We are in the process of being renewed in that we have been rescued from our previous “hardness of heart” and “deceitful desires”:

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.[24] 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17–24 (ESV)[25]

7.      The renovation of the heart/mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23) is the current process of transformation:

10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:10 (ESV)

This process of renewing our mind will be seen in future lessons.[26]

8. It is God who brings forth the transformation of the heart:

Psalm 51:7–10 (ESV)

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.


9. The human being brings to God a broken heart:

a. Psalm 51:16–17 (ESV)

16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;

you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


b. Calvin explains of this verse:

I might observe, that David is not speaking at this time of the meritorious condition by which pardon is procured, but, on the contrary, asserting our absolute destitution of merit by enjoining humiliation and contrition of spirit, in opposition to everything like an attempt to render a compensation to God. The man of broken spirit is one who has been emptied of all vain-glorious confidence, and brought to acknowledge that he is nothing. The contrite heart abjures the idea of merit, and has no dealings with God upon the principle of exchange. Is it objected, that faith is a more excellent sacrifice that that which is here commended by the Psalmist, and of greater efficacy in procuring the Divine favor, as it presents to the view of God that Savior who is the true and only propitiation? I would observe, that faith cannot be separated from the humility of which David speaks. This is such a humility as is altogether unknown to the wicked. They may tremble in the presence of God, and the obstinacy and rebellion of their hearts may be partially restrained, but they still retain some remainders of inward pride. Where the spirit has been broken, on the other hand, and the heart has become contrite, through a felt sense of the anger of the Lord, a man is brought to genuine fear and self-loathing, with a deep conviction that of himself he can do or deserve nothing, and must be indebted unconditionally for salvation to Divine mercy. That this should be represented by David as constituting all which God desires in the shape of sacrifice, need not excite our surprise. He does not exclude faith, he does not condescend upon any nice division of true penitence into its several parts, but asserts in general, that the only way of obtaining the favor of God is by prostrating ourselves with a wounded heart at the feet of his Divine mercy, and supplicating his grace with ingenuous confessions of our own helplessness.[27]


C.   Keeping the heart. Since the heart controls the life, one must take care to protect the heart.  Hence, the command in Proverb 3:25 (ESV), “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”


O God, Who, the more we hide our sins, the more bringest them into open day; Who out of doubt dost bring certainty, out of error, truth; visit us with the dew of Thy mercy: so putting out all our misdeeds, as to make us a new heart by the infusion of Thy Holy Ghost, to the end that we, rejoicing in such an indweller, may have our mouth opened for the declaration of Thy praise. Amen. Through[28]



[1]Timothy S. Lane, Paul David Tripp, How People Change, 195.


[2]Michael Fox, Proverbs 1‑9 (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 109.

[3]Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 939.

[4]Walter A. Elwell and Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Baker Reference Library; Logos Library System (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996).

[5]Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 939.

[6] SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1  Respecting 6:14, Longman (Proverbs) writes, “The heart is the core of a person from which emanates all actions, motives, and speech.  The heart of an evil person is bent on evil” (Longman, 174). 

[7] Longman, 299.

[8] “It may also warn them about trying to psychoanalyze the monarch” (Longman, 451).

[9] SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1 SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Longman, 496-497.

[10] Patrick Simon paraphrases this command in part with, “[W]ith sincere affection applying thy mind to understanding they duty” (Patrik Simon, The Proverbs of Solomon Paraphrased with Arguments of Each Chapter (London: M. Flesher, 1683), 23).  Proverbs 2:2 presents an interesting exegetical problem: The heart is elsewhere credited with acting, desiring, planning et cetera (examples of such usage will be provided below).  In 2:2, the son is told to move his heart toward some end.  What then is to incline the heart if it is not the heart, itself?  Longman explains of this verse, “The heart represents what we would call the basic personality or character of a person.  Though ‘heart’ stands for the whole inner person, on occasions the cognitive. . . . More than the simple act of hearing is involved in the reception of the father’s teaching; one must be predisposed toward wisdom to benefit from it.”  Longman, 119-120.  It seems that the heart must incline itself to respond to this command.  Perhaps the best way to understand this command is to understand the desire, hence will is to cause the heart to incline its cognitive faculties.

[11] By incorporating information into the heart, it “will become an integral part of the son’s character” (Longman, 122; see, also, William Arnott, Laws From Heaven for Life on Earth (New York: T. Nelson and Sons, 1873), 67).

[12] Moses Stuart, A Commentary on the Book of Proverbs (Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1870), 167.  Here the “heart” “stand[s] for his core personality” (Longman, 131).

[13] See the sermon of Thomas Manton on Psalm 119:11, also available on the website.

[14] 17:9–10 Verse 9 is another wisdom saying. It contains an emphatic denial of a popular belief that people are basically good (cf. Isa 64:6; Rom 3:23). Judah’s problem of sin is a common one, extending to the whole fallen human race. The word ʿāqōb, “deceitful,” is elsewhere translated “stained” (Hos 6:8) and “rough ground” (Isa 40:4). A similar word ʿōqbāh, “deception,” describes Jehu’s tricks by which he slaughtered the servants of Baal (2 Kgs 10:19). The root occurs first in Gen 3:15 in the word for “heel” (ʿāqēb), where Satan would attack Eve’s messianic offspring (cf. Pss 41:9; 89:51). Deceitfulness is said to be characteristic of Satan and his followers (John 8:44). The same word, ʿăqēs, is translated “ambush” in Josh 8:13, describing Joshua’s strategy of deceit by which he conquered Ai (cf. Job 18:9). The name of Jacob, the great deceiver, is also from the same root (Gen 25:26; 27:36). The human heart has an unlimited capacity for wickedness and deceit so that human resources are incapable of dealing with it (Mark 7:21–23; Gal 5:19–21). The only remedy is a radical change, nothing less than rebirth (John 3:7; 2 Cor 5:17).

F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations, vol. 16, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 174.

[15] Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian Worldview, vol. 4 (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 41–42.

God is fit to govern the world upon the account of his wisdom and knowledge.—His “eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” He observes all the motions and ways of men. He understands what hath been, is, and shall be. “Hell is naked before him;” (Job 26:6;) how much more, earth! His eye is upon the conclave of Rome, the cabals of princes, and the closets of particular persons. Excellently doth David set forth the divine omniscience: “Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before.” (Psalm 139:2–5.) He knows not only what is done by man, but also what is in man; all his goodness, and all his wickedness; all his contrivances, purposes, and designs. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9.) Do you ask, “Who?” The answer is ready,—“Jehovah.” He “searcheth the heart;” he “trieth and possesseth the reins.” Those are dark places, far removed from the eyes of all the world: but God’s “eyes are like a flame of fire;” they carry their own light with them, and discover those recesses, run through all the labyrinths of the heart; they look into each nook and corner of it, and see what lurks there, what is doing there. O, what manner of persons should we be! with what diligence should we keep our hearts, since God observes them with so much exactness! Men may take a view of the practices of others; but God sees their principles, and to what they do incline them. Yea, he knows how to order and command the heart; not only how to affright it with terrors, and to allure it with kindnesses, and persuade it with arguments, but likewise how to change and alter and mend it by his power. He can not only debilitate and enfeeble it, when set upon evil; but also confirm and fix and fortify it, when carried out to that which is good. “The hearts of kings are in the hands of the Lord, and he turneth them as the rivers of water.” (Prov. 21:1.)

James Nichols, Puritan Sermons, vol. 3 (Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1981), 325.

[16] Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 939.

[17]Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 471.

[18] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 6 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 97.


[19] “The reference to her ‘guarded heart’ is difficult.  It may point out that though her actions are outgoing, her motives are hidden.   She is loud, but one does not really know what is going on inside of her since she keeps it hidden.  It points out just how dangerous she is” (Longman, 189). 


[20] Longman, 299.


[21] Longman, 496-497.

[22] “How Shall Hypocrisy be Discoverable and Curable” by Rev. Andrew Bromhall, in James Nichols, Puritan Sermons, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1981), 538.


[23]Peter C. Craigie, Jeremiah 1–25, vol. 26, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 227–228.

[24]  Mind is an equivalent of “heart” in many instances:


The heart’s connection with thinking in Hebrew thought is so close that modern translations such as the RSV frequently translate lē or lēā by “mind” or “understanding” (Job 12:3; Prov. 16:9; Jer. 7:31).


Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 471.


It was essentially the whole man, with all his attributes, physical, intellectual and psychological, of which the Hebrew thought and spoke, and the heart was conceived of as the governing centre for all of these. It is the heart which makes a man, or a beast, what he is, and governs all his actions (Pr. 4:23). Character, personality, will, mind are modern terms which all reflect something of the meaning of ‘heart’ in its biblical usage.


B. O. Banwell, “Heart,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 456.

[25] Contrary to much biblical counseling literature, Paul is not commanding the Ephesians to “put off the old man” and “put on the new man”. As explained by Hoehner in his commentary on Ephesians, Paul is stating that the old man was put off at conversion (Colossians 3:10). Thus, in the present one is being renewed in the spirit of the mind; Romans 12:2. The heart is undergoing renovation:


 “that you have laid aside.” The verb apoqhmi means to “put away, to store” or in the middle

voice it can be rendered, “to put away from, to lay aside” or “to put off” a garment. . . . In the

present context it has the idea of putting off and laying aside with the contrast in verse 24 of

putting on the new person. The aorist middle infinitive has the idea of an inceptive act that may

have reference to conversion. Also, the lexical verbs of putting off and putting on of clothing

emphasizes accomplished events rather than the process of activities. The middle voice

emphasizes that the subject receives the benefits of his or her action. It is not reflexive idea, for

the person could not do it by his or her own strength. Hence, believers were taught that they

have put off or have laid aside the old person at conversion.


The old person, found in Rom 6:6 and Col 3:9, is the preconversion unregenerate person. Paul

then is teaching that, having been taught in him, believers should know that the old person

according to the former lifestyle was laid aside at the time of their faith in the one who taught

them, namely, Christ.


Harold E. Hoehner, Ephesians, An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007),

603 & 605.


Paul stresses the believer’s solidarity with Christ. Since a believer is “in Christ” and since Christ is in heaven, the believer is “in the heavenlies” (en tois epouraniois). Accordingly, God has blessed the believer “in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). This precise phrase occurs only five times in the New Testament, and only in Ephesians (1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). The believer’s heavenly blessings depend on Christ’s heavenly session (Eph. 1:20) and the spiritual union each believer shares “with Christ” (Eph. 2:6). God does not merely apply the ministry of Christ to believers. He sees believers with Christ wherever he is—and he is now in heaven. Believers are commanded to adopt an earthly lifestyle of dying to sin and living to righteousness (Rom. 6:4), and to set their minds on the heavenly reality that will soon be revealed in Christ (Col. 4:1–4). In other words, believers should live consistently with who, and where, they really are.


Walter A. Elwell and Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Baker Reference Library; Logos Library System (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996).

[27] John Calvin, Psalms, electronic ed., Calvin’s Commentaries (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1998), Ps 51:17.

* Mozarabic.

[28] J. M. Neale and R. F. Littledale, eds., A Commentary on the Psalms from Primitive and Mediæval Writers: Psalm 39 to Psalm 80, vol. 2 (London; New York: Joseph Masters; Pott and Amery, 1868), 180.